“All subjects have equal value”

A colleague who teaches PE sent this to all other colleagues in a school. He was frustrated that students had been kept behind to complete their GCSE English coursework. They were scheduled to be in a PE extra period.

I have some sympathy with that colleague. He was giving up his time with no pay to teach students stuff they probably should have learnt in lessons. There is a scheduled day when students have their extra lesson in English. So he could and should be saying this to the English teachers.

But he didn’t. He said all subjects have equal value.

They don’t, of course. The suggestion that English, Maths, Science is equal to basket weaving would be laughed at. Actually it wasn’t – I heard another colleague say “don’t laugh at basket weaving -it’s very valuable”. However, in a school basket weaving should be laughed at. 

Dance is not as valuable a subject for most students as English or Maths or Science. Running is not equivalent to grammar or tables.

And nor is PE.

And that should be obvious.

It’s not obvious because of the narrative of progressive education that has dominated schools in the UK for some time. 

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2 thoughts on ““All subjects have equal value”

  1. Wow!! I presume that being a learned individual of many years experience you have of course read the evidence of the impact of high quality physical activity on academic achievement? Please do not ghink I argue that all PE in this puntry id valuable as some of it is shocking. However, the value of high quality PE surely cannot be debated??

    • Yes, in Amanda Ripley’s book it is shown that not worrying about sport, and leaving that to clubs, is an especially effective tactic in Finland, for example. She contrasts this with America, where Sport is the thing that parents focus on, to the detriment of achievement.

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